Dreamforce is almost here – can you believe it? At our last user group meetup, we talked about Dreamforce preparation. (Add that to the list of things I love about my local Salesforce community!) We do this every year, and every year the list grows. Dreamforce is huge and overwhelming, and if you aren’t ready for it, you may not get as much out of the week as you hoped.
Here are some of the best tried-and-true Dreamforce tips, courtesy of the Portland Salesforce community. Enjoy!
- Join the Dreamforce group in the Success Community to stay in the loop on all things Dreamforce. Are you a first-time attendee? Join the New to Dreamforce group for even more info, specific to newbies!
- Bookmark your sessions now! The agenda builder is rumored to be going live on September 7th, and it is much easier to register for sessions if you add them to your favorites ahead of time.
- Sign up for every event, every night of the week. Note: I did not just say “GO to every event.” Just RSVP yes to everything, even if you are double- or triple-booking yourself. During the conference, your plans will be constantly changing, especially as you meet people and hear about different things. If you’ve already signed up for all of the parties, you won’t have to worry about signing up last-minute. You can also join this Community group for Dreamforce events.
- Are you on Twitter? Follow @dreamforce, and tweet using the hashtag #DF16 during the week. Many Dreamforce sponsors will also be leveraging Twitter for prize giveaways and contests, so watch for those as well.
- Have you uploaded a picture to your Chatter profile (the one that you used to register for Dreamforce)? FYI, your Chatter picture will be the picture that is used on your Dreamforce badge. Just so ya know.
- Watch the Dreamforce community group for a campus map, and keep distance in mind when you schedule your sessions. Some locations are a good hike from the Moscone Center – plan accordingly!
- Wear comfortable shoes. As in, the most comfortable shoes you own.
- The streets will be extremely congested – walking or taking a pedicab is actually faster than shuttles or taxis!
- Don’t carry more than you need. Make sure you have a tote bag or backpack that you can haul around all day.
- Is your hotel too far to walk to and from the Moscone Center each day? Get a visitor Muni Pass so that you will have easy access to public transportation.
- Watch the Road to Dreamforce each week. Missed an episode? You can watch the recordings afterward!
- Get the Dreamforce Trailhead badges – Dreamforce ‘16 Ready and Dreamforce & Beyond – to be extra prepared. And hey, who doesn’t want more badges?
- Make a list. It can be a short list – maybe there are just two questions that you really want to get answered at Dreamforce. Maybe it’s a long list of people you want to meet. Whatever it is, have at least one goal for the week. You will get so much more out of Dreamforce if you approach it with a plan and a sense of purpose.
- Have you been thinking about getting certified? Dreamforce is the best place to do it, because the exams cost half the normal price. You may also want to consider taking one of the many classes that are offered right before the conference – this can save a lot of money, since you are already going to be there! If certification is part of your plan, start studying ahead of time so that you don’t have to cram at the last minute.
WHAT TO PACK
- Pack light! Make sure to leave room in your suitcase for the Dreamforce backpack and all of the amazing swag you’ll be collecting throughout the week.
- Pack and wear layers! Temperatures will fluctuate from day to night, indoor to outdoor. Check the weather forecast the night before you leave, and be prepared.
- I said it before, and I’ll say it again – comfortable shoes. I will be in sneakers or flat-heeled boots all week.
- Do you tweet a lot, or use your phone for notes and reminders? Carry a charger with you at all times, or bring a battery pack – like this one, which I just got for my iPhone – so that you don’t run out of juice before the day is done!
- Bring a refillable water bottle, and stay hydrated! There are plenty of water fountains and water coolers for refills.
- Planning on networking? Bring lots of business cards. Bring more than you think you will need – once you start meeting people and attending events, you will be handing them out faster than candy on Halloween.
- Do you tend to get “hangry” if you haven’t eaten in a while? Bring snacks with you. Have you booked out most of your week from dawn till bedtime? Bring instant oatmeal or protein bars so that you can have a quick breakfast every morning while you get ready.
- Check in on Monday if possible, and as early as possible. The check-in lines can be huge – and they only get worse as the week progresses.
- Does your hotel offer free coffee? Grab a cup as you are leaving each morning – the lines at Starbucks can be far too time-consuming.
- Were you unable to register for a session that you really wanted to attend because it was full? Good news – they are not really full! Some seats are set aside for walk-ins, so if you really want to be in a particular session, show up at least 20 minutes early and wait in the walk-in line.
- Are you a note-taker? Well, you don’t need to write down everything – most sessions are recorded, and the slides will be posted to the session’s Chatter feed in the weeks following Dreamforce. I used to try to write down everything, and take pictures of the slides, until I realized that it was truly unnecessary! Now I tend to only write down a few key points from my favorite sessions, to remind myself what I wanted to take from them.
- Are you attending Dreamforce with a group of co-workers? Abandon them. Seriously, get out there and mingle. Hang out after a session and ask the presenter some follow-up questions. Sit down at a random table for lunch and talk to strangers. You can see your co-workers every day at work – Dreamforce is a great place to meet different people from different places, to network, start new friendships, and get inspired!
- Lunch lines too long? The Westfield mall is right up the street from Moscone – their basement food court is my favorite place to grab a quick, cheap lunch.
- There is more to Dreamforce than just keynotes and sessions. Visit the admin zone and the dev zone to chat with experts and collect tips & tricks. Visit the cloud expo for awesome sponsor swag and in-person demos of hundreds of tools that might be useful to your org. Get out and explore.
- Wellness is crucial. Take Airborne or Echinacea or Emergen-C every day. Bring hand sanitizer. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Get the sleep that you need. If you normally work out or do yoga, make time for that throughout the week. If you are introverted or don’t like crowds, set aside some quiet time to recharge in your room. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but it’s far worse if you aren’t feeling your best.
GOT MORE TIPS? Did I forget anything? Leave a comment with your favorite Dreamforce tip! See you there!